Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Healdsburg day 1

too short, but in brevity:

Dinner at Cena Luna, fabulous as ever. Arugular salad with peaces, champagne vinaigrette, me: "a peach is just a peach." So Gertrude Stein, and the peach was good, it was fine, not at all mealy and pleasant and peachy but it wasn't Al's peach and I wasn't in love. Then spinach raviolis with a bright and perfect tomato sauce, veal canelloni for mom. Then through idle chatter at the bar we met the chef/owner/"I'm the pastry chef too cause we don't have enough money for one!" Yvette, a fabulous ball of energy who gave her pedigree (Elisabeth Daniel, me smart enough now in this city to ask if Daniel Patterson was there at the time) and comped us some desserts (lemon curd cake, banana split with caramelized bananas and heath bar gelato). Nice to be hooked up but even nicer to talk the chef talk. She said she wanted to learn desserts because she'd never been good at them, but she preferred working the line because if you fuck things up you can fix them.

Breakfast at the downtown bakery--perfect sticky bun, sub par cookie.

(it's nice being back in Healdsburg because I set a story there, so I'm scoping out places for my characters. Would this interaction happen in this shopping plaza, or on this sidestreet? What wineries would they visit? And I realized that the tone of the piece is not what I need it to be: Anna is smarter than Chef, and also corrupt, and there are few things more painful than the slight betrayal from your best friend, who is your sous, which is closer than any lover might get. And also, it's the female/queer Sideways, so at least there is a loose plot to follow, though I do diverge. I think the story lacks tension but only because I haven't dug deep enough into it yet, but if I can get it there, to the slight edge of fallingapart and perfection of craft, which is what these characters deserve. Or when, I should say. In between the cooking. )

Wineries, many: Hop Kiln, Toad Hollow, Thumbprint, Rabbit Ridge, Mauritson, Meeker, Rued, Johnson Family Winery, among others. Sweet whites and pepepry reds. Dinner soon. In the car on the way up, my mother: you should have a blog about desserts

me: ...

The heat's so sticky. Familiar. Should be 100 tomorrow, and my dog turns 7!

I'm in a decision making mood lately and I've decided the following: I want to learn how to play tennis. I am going to participate in the one local meal a week program, unofficially, as it will give me a chance to shop the farm markers. I am going to learn to cook fish properly but, first, to butcher it. Show me how to debone, fillet, skin, whatever needs be done. Somehow this will happen...Oh, and yes, for the writers out there, I think I'm going to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo and construct a novel/seriously linked stories from my chef stories. While technically illegal to use previously drafted material, I'm doing this for me. There's too much that's good in those pieces to sit around.

From the cute as pie Healdsburg Tuesday market: one peach for my mother, cherries, wild plums, Adriatic figs.

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